Van Buren splits with Springdale in conference contests.

For the first time this season, the Van Buren Pointers fell out of the top two spots in the 7A-West with Tuesday’s loss at Springdale.

Wednesday, they bounced back behind solid pitching and clutch hitting.

Ethan Holmes twirled a complete-game one-hit shutout and Evan Jones drove in three runs to pace the Pointers to a 4-0 win against Springdale at Iverson Riggs Field at the Field of Dreams complex.

Van Buren (16-3, 7-3) moved back into a tie for second place with Springdale Har-Ber, which lost to league-leading Fayetteville on Tuesday. Bentonville, which was tied for Van Buren in third place, lost to Rogers to fall into fourth place.

Van Buren’s win also gives the Pointers momentum going into their final two home-and-away conference series first next week against Har-Ber and then the following week against Fayetteville.

“We were disappointed last night and responded well today,” Van Buren head coach David Loyd said. “We managed to get that one, and now we’re looking forward to next week. We’ve got Har-Ber and then Fayetteville. Hopefully, we’ll be playing for a bye in the state tournament with a one or a two seed. We’d like to finish strong and get some momentum, and get our bats going again going into the state tournament.”

Wednesday, Holmes battled through some sickness to force a split against Springdale (12-11, 4-6), which won on Tuesday.

“I’ve been a little under the weather a couple of days,” Holmes said. “I just put it out of my mind. I knew what I needed to do for my team.”

Holmes retired the first nine batters he faced before giving up a sharp single to leadoff hitter Andrew Roach, who had the only hit for Springdale. Roach was thrown out stealing, easily, by Van Buren catcher Ethan Rauser.

“He did a really good job spotting his pitches, mixing it up and keeping us off-balanced,” Springdale head coach Scott Johnson said. “We’ve been a pretty good offensive club this year, but today we’ve got to tip our hats to him.”

Holmes faced just two batters over the minimum, and had to pitch around an error in the fifth inning and another in the sixth.

“I knew they’d make the next one,” Holmes said. “I knew I could get the next batter. I just moved on.”

After the error in the fifth, Holmes struck out the final two batters to escape damage and keep Van Buren’s lead to 2-0. In the sixth, he retired the final batter on a popup.

“He’s a real tough competitor,” Loyd said. “Errors don’t bother him. He just bears down and goes after the next one. That’s what you want. He did a super job.”

Holmes threw 65 of his 91 pitches for strikes. He walked none and struck out nine, and now has 51 strikeouts in 51-1/3 innings. He had five ground-ball outs, three fly balls, three pop ups, and the caught stealing.

“My fastball felt light and live out of my hand, and my curveball was working really well, too,” Holmes said. “I was able to keep it low and have it break right over the top. They were swinging over the top and beating it into the ground.”

It was the second time in three weeks in which Holmes pitched Van Buren to a win a day after the Pointers had lost a league-game on the road.

“There was no pressure,” Holmes said. “I was just really determined to get the win.”

Jones, the 155-pound junior second baseman, was bumped up a spot in the battling order to seventh on Wednesday due to a recent hot spell at the plate.

“I’ve been at the bottom the whole year,” Jones said. “I moved up one spot, and, hey, did good.”

Closer the power spots in the batting order, Jones doubled home a run in the second inning and swatted a two-run homer for insurance in the sixth inning.

“I don’t look like it, but I’m getting up there (in the order),” Jones said. “I knew that one was gone as soon as it left the bat. It was a fastball. Coach told me that I was going to get only one good pitch in that at-bat. That one was it. I hit it solid.”

All three of Jones’ runs batted in came with two outs.

“I had the same approach; just put the ball in play and move the runner,” Jones said.

Van Buren took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Bryson Patrick walked to lead off, went to second on Jeremiah Douglas’ sacrifice bunt, advanced to third on a passed ball and strolled home on Landrey Wilkerson’s single.

Ethan Rauser reached on an error, and courtesy runner Carter Davis stole second before Jones smoked a double over the centerfielder’s head to deep center for a 2-0 lead in the fourth.

In the sixth, Rauser rifled a single up the middle with one out, Davis stole second again, and after an out, Jones homered over the left field fence for a 4-0 cushion.

“He’s got some pop in his bat,” Loyd said. “We put him down there in the order, and he gets pitches to hit. He’s been like that all year. He can really drive the ball. He did it twice, and that was big for us.”


The Pointers rally came up short as Springdale was able to hand Van Buren its third conference loss of the season on April 18 in Springdale.

Springdale led 6-0 after a couple of errors in the bottom of the fourth allowed the Bulldogs to score four runs.

Van Buren had a two-out rally at the top of the sixth.

Trevor Johnson got the rally moving with a double and came home with a single from Ethan Jones and Bryson Patrick’s double got Van Buren on the board, 5-2. Landry Wilkerson was hit by a pitch and Chase Moore’s double brought in two runs and Van Buren was within two runs, 6-4. Two more hits moved batters around and Moore scored on Conner Cantron’s single.

Springdale made a routine infield play to get out of the inning.

The Bulldogs scored one more run in the bottom of the sixth for the final margin.

Springdale pitcher Andrew Roach retired the side in the seventh to end the game. Roach got the save while Tyler Turner earned the win for 5 2/3 innings of work. Turner gave up ten hits and three earned runs with six strikeouts and a walk. Roach had three hits and two strikeouts.

Johnson absorbed the loss for his 5 1/3 innings of work. He gave up eight hits and three earned runs of the seven which were scored. Johnson had six strikeouts and a walk. Dalton Reeves one hit and a strikeout for 2/3 of an inning.

Patrick led the Pointers at the plate with 3 for 3 and one RBI. Moore, Holmes and Johnson had two hits each.